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Bioengineered Human Serum Albumin Fusion Protein as Target/Enzyme/pH Three-Stage Propulsive Drug Vehicle for Tumor Therapy

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2020, 22:31 by Mingyu Wang, Li Zhang, Yanfei Cai, Yang Yang, Lipeng Qiu, Yiting Shen, Jian Jin, Juan Zhou, Jinghua Chen
Human serum albumin (HSA) has the characteristics of biocompatibility and long circulation, which is widely used as the carrier of insoluble anticancer drugs, but it also has some disadvantages such as weak tumor targeting and uncontrollable drug release. Herein, HSA was modified to improve its biological performance by introducing polyhistidine (pHis), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) digestion, and Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptide at the separated end of HSA through gene fusion technology. The resulting protein expressed by Pichia pastoris could self-assemble into 3RGD-HSA-MMP-18His nanoparticles (RHMH18 NPs) accompanied by loading hydrophobic drug paclitaxel (PTX) into the polyhistidine micelle core. RHMH18 NPs exhibited active tumor targeting in high efficiency owing to the RGD-mediated specific binding toward ανβ3-integrin upregulated on tumor vasculature endothelium, resulting in the enrichment of therapeutic substances in tumor sites. Once reaching the tumor microenvironment, RHMH18 NPs was cut off by MMP-2 to remove the HSA-3RGD moiety, leaving the small and positively charged histidine micelle, which could penetrate the deep part of tumor tissue more effectively. Finally, the histidine micelle escaped from lysosome successfully and released drug in response to pH. The in vivo experiments’ results demonstrated that the three-stage propulsion RHMH18 NPs presented superior tumor inhibition activity with minimal side effects, providing potential strategies of protein based drug delivery systems for tumor therapy.